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Nevada delays launch of statewide voter registration system

(Credit: Jeniffer Solis/Nevada Current)

April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current
March 19, 2024

Nevada is delaying the launch of a “top-down” voter registration database and election system until after the upcoming June primary, a decision made after 15 county election officials requested the scheduled spring launch be delayed.

On Tuesday, Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar announced the implementation of the Voter Registration and Election Management System, or VREMS, will be delayed until July. VREMS was previously scheduled to launch in April.

Nevada is one of just a handful of states still using what is known as a “bottom-up” voter registration system, wherein counties maintain their own databases and states aggregate that data. Top-down systems offer one centralized database, which elections administrators say improves reporting and will reduce the potential for errors, such as an embarrassing technical issue experienced after the presidential primaries last month.

On Monday, a group of 15 top county election officials, which included the interim registrar of voters for Washoe County and Nevada’s rural counties, requested the delay. The administrators wrote that they “eagerly anticipate the benefits of this project” but “are concerned that the project success in both real and public perception terms may be unattainable under the current implementation schedule.”

A mock election exercise last week revealed “a number of issues” that must be addressed by the vendor of the election system, KNOWiNK, according to the letter. The elections officials expressed concern there will not be enough time to review and test the system after those updates are made.

“Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and when the administrators of those elections express concern we should all listen,” said Aguilar in a statement. “I know that this request from our state’s election administrators was not made lightly, and that it was made with the voters in mind.”

Aguilar emphasized that the new system will be online before the 2024 presidential election.

Nevada’s move to VREMS was legislatively mandated by 2021’s Assembly Bill 412. That legislation set an implementation deadline of January 2024, but state elections officials nearly two years ago raised concerns that the date was unrealistic.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.